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 GEORGIA LOST ALL HOPES

A1plus: Mr. Grigorian, as I understand, you are an expert on conflicts, including on internal conflicts and interventions. I also know that you have dealt with the conflicts in Georgia in your work. What is your assessment of the situation in Georgia?

Mr.Grigorian: The situation can only be characterized as an unmitigated disaster for Georgia. I think Georgia has lost all hope of ever regaining even nominal control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, its military capabilities and infrastructure have been severely crippled, Russian forces control Poti, as well as the strategic highway connecting the Eastern and Western parts of Georgia, which gives them tremendous leverage at the negotiating table, and finally, the war has made it painfully clear how much help Georgia can count on from the West, which is not that much. Despite the high pitch anti-Russian rhetoric in the US, President Bush and the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had to assure the American people that the US will not go to war with Russia over Georgia, removing much of the calculated ambiguity regarding the true level of American commitment to Georgia’s security. In sum, I think this is one of the darkest times in the modern history of Georgia.
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 Black Sea and Central Asia Economic Outlook (BSECAO). Work and Well-Being (W&WB): Policy Challenges in the Global Environment

AIPRG was selected as a country consultant for an OECD publication called the Black Sea and Central Asia Economic Outlook (BSECAO), focusing on “Work and Well-Being (W&WB): Policy Challenges in the Global Environment”. It investigates how countries in Black Sea and Central Asia regions are responding to the double challenge of integrating into the global economy and improving domestic welfare through the creation of more and better jobs.
Primary topics covered were labor market outcomes and recent developments, national policies affecting work and well-being, and coping mechanisms and strategies of households, individuals and firms as related to economic vulnerability.
The launch of the final report will be done in June, 2008...more

 

Implications of Armenian Currency Appreciation for the Competitiveness of Armenian Tourism, IT Industries

During the period of May-September 2007, with the financial support of Competitive Armenian Private Sector Program (CAPS) and Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), AIPRG implemented a survey and research on the Implications of Armenian Dram Appreciation for the Competitiveness of Armenian Tourism, IT, and Food Processing Industries. The firm level data of a number of incoming tour operators, hotels, IT and food processing companies was analyzed in order to reveal the possible impact of the currency appreciation on profits and export levels of the companies...more

 

FOLLOW-UP PROJECT: THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF OPENING THE BORDER BETWEEN ARMENIA AND TURKEY: IMPLICATIONS FOR GEORGIA: Summary of the Round Table Meeting

On June 18, 2007 Armenian International Policy Research Group (AIPRG) commenced the first round-table discussions within the follow-up project on the Conference entitled “The Economic and Social Consequences of Opening the Border between Armenia and Turkey” organized in Yerevan on January 13-14...more

Turkish military seeks Armenia detente

The assassination of a prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist, Hrant Dink, on 19 January 2007 in Istanbul renewed attention on Turkey's troubled relations with its small neighbour, Armenia.

The record of Turkish-Armenian relations has been blighted by both Ankara's refusal to extend normal diplomatic relations to Yerevan and a trade embargo and transport blockade, imposed on Armenia in 1993 in support of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict...more

Armenia: The Caucasian Tiger 

Over the past half-decade, the Armenian economy has grown by double-digit rates annually on average, and high growth rates have been registered for over a decade. Nevertheless, Armenia remains poor, with income per head only about a quarter of that in the Baltics. Growth has now begun to make a significant dent in poverty, but its impact on employment has been muted. The report examines the reasons for the weak transmission link to employment and suggests policy reforms, and it discusses the major sources of risk to continued high growth and outlines the policy adaptations necessary to place growth on firmer foundations. To meet the aspirations of the public, economic policies will have to be such as to maximize the prospects for growth; and, thus, impediments to growth will have to be addressed early and vigorously...more (PDF)


 Armenia's Recent Sovereign Credit Rating by Fitch (June 2006)

Armenia’s ratings are underpinned by a track record of prudent fiscal policy, a modest and declining public and external debt burden, progress towards entrenching macroeconomic stability and structural reforms that have enhanced the capacity of the economy to absorb adverse shocks and sustain rapid economic growth. Moderate fiscal and external financing needs are comfortably met with continuing concessional financing flows, while international reserves are sufficient to absorb short-term shocks. The macroeconomic policy framework is robust and the authorities are committed to further structural reforms, supported by the active engagement of the international financial community... more (PDF)

Armenia Scores Highest Among CIS on Economic Freedom Index

-- Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Give Armenia their
Highest Rating in the Commonwealth of Independent States

WASHINGTON, DC - The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), in letters sent today to Members of Congress, Administration officials, think tanks, the media, and the broader Washington, DC foreign policy community, welcomed Armenia's high rating from the Index of Economic Freedom, prepared jointly by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal.

The Index measures 161 countries against 50 variables divided into 10 factors of economic freedom. Armenia received a 2.58 rating and was ranked 42nd overall - ahead of both France and South Korea... more (PDF)


New Armenian Economic Plan Targets Poverty
(June 29, 2004 Eurasianet Organization)

As Armenia's economy continues to post record growth, the government has announced an ambitious campaign to tackle the poverty that has marred living conditions in the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The government's change in tactics comes as the opposition continues to campaign for the removal of President Robert Kocharian from office. For the past few years, Armenia has had one of the best performing economies in the former Soviet Union. Annual economic growth has averaged over 10 percent. Price liberalization and privatization programs and the accession of Armenia to the World Trade Organization in 2003 have all contributed to the surge. Foreign direct investment has increased by 74.5 percent since 2003, according to the National Statistics Service, with much of that coming from the far-flung Armenian Diaspora. Last year, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development cited Armenia as the most likely candidate among the former Soviet Union for accession to the European Union... more (PDF)

Faces Of Globalization: Armenian Students
by Christine Heath

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2004 (UPI) -- Walking along the sidewalk surrounding the Capitol building in Washington, Nune Hovhannisyan and Lusine Tadevosyan want to complete what they lightheartedly call their picture show.The two women, born and raised in Armenia, are spending their summer here as part of an academmic program.On their way back to work for the Armenian International Policy Research Group, Lusine, 25, and Nune, 22, strategically position themselves on the front steps of the symbolic Capitol building, preparing to be photographed... more (PDF)


Russia and Eurasia Report by the Center of Strategic and International Studies
by Cory Welt

(March/April 2004) Compared to the successful November 2003 demonstrations in Georgia, or even the unsuccessful October 2003 protests in Azerbaijan, the violent dispersal of Armenian protestors on the night of April 12-13 has gone relatively unnoticed outside of the region. At approximately 2AM in the morning, riot police used truncheons, stun grenades, and water cannons to disperse a crowd of 2-3,000, the remnant of a larger march the day before. The protest was organized by a united opposition to demand the resignation of President Robert Kocharian. The crackdown was accompanied by the arrests of protestors and opposition leaders, the beating of journalists by police, and the raiding of opposition party offices. The standoff between the opposition and the government is Armenia’s fourth major political crisis in eight years. In 1996, Kocharian’s predecessor, Levon Ter- Petrosian, was accused of rigging a presidential election, sparking riotous protests that were put down by force and mass arrests. Ter-Petrosian was forced to resign in 1998 after losing the support of his defense and interior ministers as well as Kocharian, then prime minister...more (PDF)


Caucasus Election Watch: Armenian Foreign Relations After The Presidential Election

(March 6, 2003, Report by CSIS) On February 19, 2003, Armenia held its fourth presidential election since gaining independence in 1991. According to international observers, the election was generally calm and well administered, but was marred by serious irregularities and flaws and thus cannot be viewed as a sign of progress in Armenia’s democratization efforts. Because no candidate managed to meet the 50-percent-plus-1 threshold in the first round of voting, a runoff election was held between the top two vote-getters—incumbent Robert Kocharian and Stepan Demirchian. Kocharian won the runoff and will remain president. One of the major tasks facing the incoming administration is to harmonize Armenian foreign policy with the emerging geopolitical realities in the South Caucasus and global politics more generally. Although significant changes in Armenian foreign policy are unlikely, the need to align it with new challenges will inevitably result in policy shifts... more (PDF)


Caucasus Election Watch: Nagorno Karabakh and the Elections: So What?

(February 14, 2003, Report by CSIS) This year will see elections throughout the Caucasus: presidential elections in Armenia (February 19) and Azerbaijan (October) and parliamentary elections in Armenia (May 25) and Georgia (October). The focus of this paper is the presidential elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Neither of the elections will correspond to western concepts of free and fair: it is already clear that Heydar Aliyev, president of Azerbaijan, and Robert Kocharian, president of Armenia, will be reelected. It does deserve note, though, given the fragility of what passes for democracy throughout the Caucasus, that voters will be offered at least some choice in all of these elections. During the election campaigns, Nagorno Karabakh will be a little bit like Banquo’s ghost... more (PDF)


Armenia Sees Highest Industrial Growth in Central Asia and Caucasus in Jan-July

YEREVAN, September 11, (Interfax). Armenia posted the highest rate of industrial output growth among Central Asia and Caucasus countries in January-July 2003 at 19.1%, the CIS Interstate Statistics Committee reported. Output was up 9.4% in Tajikistan, 9.2% in Georgia, 9.0% in Kazakhstan and 7.1% in Kyrgyzstan. A lower rate was posted in Azerbaijan at 5%. The statistics committee does not have figures for Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. GDP was up 14.9% in Armenia, 10.1% in Azerbaijan, 8.9% in Tajikistan, and 1.0% in Kyrgyzstan. GDP rose 10.2% in Kazakhstan and 8.6% in Georgia.


Foreign Trade Turnover of Nearly $535.1 Million Registered in Armenia

YEREVAN, June 12, 2003 (Noyan Tapan; http://www.groong.org/). Foreign trade turnover of Armenia totaled approximately $535.1 million in January-April of 2003, including 179 million of export and 356.1 million of import. According to the data provided by the national Statistical Service of Armenia, foreign trade balance is negative by $177 million and without humanitarian aid it is negative by $158.1 million. In the structure of export a great share falls on precious and semi-precious stones, precious metals and articles made of them ($98.2 million), ready-made foodstuff ($17.2 million) and ore-mining products (close to $13.7 million). In the structure of import, great is the share of precious and semi-precious stones, precious metals and articles made of them (approximately $94 million), machines, equipment and mechanisms ($34 million), and ore-mining products ($58 million). In the period under review, the most active foreign trade partners of Armenia were Russia (close to $99.4 million), Belgium ($72.34 million) and Israel ($75.7 million).


Railroading Seems to Go Up in Armenia

YEREVAN, June 12, 2003 (ArmenPress; http://www.groong.org) Railroading went up by 19.6 percent in the first 5 months of this year, against the same period last year, some 842,200 tons of cargo shipped by 14,480 cars against the previous year's 703,900 tons, said Armenia's transport and communication ministry press secretary, specifying that the rise is conditioned by the increase in the volumes of in-country transportation, as well as export. Export volume was 65,800 tons in the first five months of 2002, against 84,200 for the specified period this year, in-country railroading comprised 266,400 and 402,400 respectively, and the total volume of cargo-turnover was 211 million 744,000 ton/km in January-May this year against last year's 158 million 427,000 ton/km for the same period, she said.


Pay Attention to the South Caucasus
by Amb. Harry Gilmore, Amb. Richard Kauzlarich, Amb. Kenneth Yalowitz

January 2002. The tragic events of September 11 have brought to the American consciousness the realization that events in far distant Afghanistan and Central Asia have a profound and direct impact on the safety and security of Americans at home and living and serving abroad. A neighboring region, the South Caucasus, hitherto also obscure to most Americans, is now emerging as vital to U.S. security and energy supply interests and requires our focused attention. Russian president Putin's recent visit to Washington and Russia's national interests in the South Caucasus add to the significance of the region...more (PDF)


Overview of February 25th Caspian Energy Conference in Washington
by Richard Giragosian.

During the recent visit to Washington by Azerbaijan’s President Geidar Aliyev, a conference on Caspian Energy was convened on February 25, 2002. Although hurriedly organized by the U.S. Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce, the American-Turkish Council and the America-Georgia Business Council, the conference brought together several Georgian, Turkish and U.S. officials to join the Azerbaijani president in reviewing the prospects for the proposed Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline... more (PDF)


Regional Center for Western Airlines Maintainance Being Formed in Armenia

December 10, 2002 18:08 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ A regional center for maintenance of airliners of Western type is being formed in Armenia with the assistance of German "Lufthansa" and Russian "Siberia" air companies. As reported by "Arminfo" agency, it was declared by director of "Siberia" air company Vladislav Filyov, who had arrived in Yerevan to participate in the presentation of "Armenia" international airport. In his words, full maintenance of airliners like "Airbus" will be arranged in Armenia. By the way, an offer has been received from Tbilisi to maintain A-319 Georgian liner in Yerevan. Filyov did not rule out the opportunity of receiving such suggestions from Iran and even from Azerbaijan. As the Siberian air company director noted, special high custom duties in Russia do not let import and exploit Western airliners there. The absence of the problem in Armenia, in his words, provides an exceptional opportunity for creating a regional maintenance center here. Vladislav Filyov also informed that at present "Siberia" airline continued negotiating with the Armenian government on further activation of the functioning of "Armavia" company, 70% of shares of which are owned by the Russian party. The supply of the second A-320 airliner is expected in January.


Armenia Becomes WTO Member

A decision on Armenia's admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been made at the final official meeting of task groups in Geneva today. According to the protocol, a draft report on Armenia's membership in the WTO, as well as the schedule of necessary measures concerning goods and services, was submitted and approved at the meeting. A final formal decision is to be passed on December 10, at a meeting of the WTO General Council. Head of the Armenian delegation, Minister of Trade and Economic Development Karen Chshmaritian presented the current macroeconomic situation in Armenia, addressed the legislative reforms to harmonize the country's legislation with the WTO's requirements. The minister informed the meeting participants of Armenia's foreign trade policy, pointing out that it is aimed at the country's integration into the world's economy. The meeting president expressed satisfaction with Armenia's constructive position during the last few years, as well as with the country's willingness to cooperate. It should be noted that Armenia has held negotiations for its admission to the WTO for eight years, 1,500 pages of documents have been approved to harmonize the country's legislation with the WTO's requirements.